1937 to 2021
She cherished her family
Ernestine Oseguera—a vivacious woman who adored life, cherished her family, and held unshakable faith in the Lord—passed away of liver cancer at her son’s home in Riverside, CA, on February 11, 2021. She was 83.
A savory mix of Texas Mexican, Spanish, French, and Aztec Indian, Ernestine, known as Ernee to her friends, loved nothing more than celebrating the holidays. Whether it was her brown-sugar ham and lemon squares for Thanksgiving or the tons of tamales whipped up before New Year’s Day, Ernestine—surrounded by her enormous family—made the most of any event.
Laughing, sharing stories, and cracking jokes in English and Spanish reigned throughout every holiday, the music of Freddy Fender playing in the background. Fender, a country-rock legend in Texas, was Ernestine’s cousin.
Helped raise her siblings
The first of six children, Ernestine was born October 11, 1937, in New Gulf, TX to Gertrude Huerta and Daniel Rubio, who picked cotton and strawberries for a living. It was a close-knit Catholic family, the two boys and four girls rowdy yet protective. It fell to Ernestine, as the oldest, to help raise her younger siblings.
When she was still a child, the Rubios moved from Texas to Lawndale/ Redondo Beach, CA. She would later compare the journey to the Beverly Hillbillies moving to Beverly Hills and striking it rich.
Athletic growing up, Ernestine participated in aqua arts. Underwater ballet took great strength, and she relished the elegance and grace it required. A dark-haired beauty, with a minuscule waist and fierce determination, she first got a job as a telephone operator for Pacific Bell in Los Angeles.
In the early 1950s, one of her sisters introduced Ernestine to Rudolpho Ortiz Oseguera, a US Army veteran who had served in Korea. They wed in 1954, and Rudy, as he was called, worked at Hood Corporation as a foreman and in pipeline construction. Ernestine got a job as an administrative secretary at Arroyo Elementary School in the Pomona Unified School District, where she worked for over 38 years.
A special aura
Ernestine adored working with children; she had a special aura about her, a quality of comfort and understanding. She always wore her bifocals, had kind eyes, and a glorious smile that would light up when anyone asked a question or needed help.
Thanks to Rudy, who worked hard from dawn to dusk, the family prospered and purchased a big house on top of a hill in Diamond Bar. Ernestine handled the family finances, and her frugality facilitated their genteel lifestyle.
The couple had three children, Rudy on Sept. 15, 1958, Richard on Sept. 10, 1964, and Lisa on Sept. 13, 1968. It resulted in one mammoth September birthday for all three. Ernestine eagerly attended her kid’s events, whether Pop Warner Football, band, plays, gymnastics, or ballet. She also hosted PTA, Amway, and Bridge parties.
There were stacks and stacks of books in the Diamond Bar house, and Ernestine could finish a thousand-page book in two days. Daughter Lisa recalls the family playing word games. “We used to keep a huge, Webster’s Dictionary nearby so we could randomly search words,” she said.
Ernestine also loved to cook tacos, burritos, tacos, steak, chicken, and Lisa’s favorite enchiladas. “She would always ask me what I wanted for my Birthday Dinner and it was always enchiladas.” Her mom also loved to sew and made dresses for her daughter.
But holidays reigned supreme. Ernestine carefully planned out and decorated every year, especially at Christmas, but also for family gatherings. On Taco Day, for example, the women spent the day cooking while the kids played outside. All the brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins would laugh, crack jokes in English and Spanish, and share stories, the sounds of Mariachi and Freddie Fender music mixing with the hilarity.
Humor a special gift
“A sense of humor was a special gift on the Rubio side of the family,” Lisa said.
Easter Sunday meant huge Easter egg hunts. The children would set out to see who could find the most candy and eggs, some with money. Ernestine made everyone feel welcome and included. She never belittled anyone or gossiped behind a person’s back. She provided comfort, love and understanding to all, especially family and friends, who were her world.
After the family moved from Diamond Bar to Riverside for Rudy’s job, Ernestine continued to work at Arroyo School. She would drive there every morning and never complain about the long commute.
Along with reading her ever-present novels, she also worked crossword puzzles, appreciated a good detective show on TV, and read the Bible. “She loved the Lord,” Lisa said. “She would wake up every morning and read her Bible, as did my dad, over a cup of coffee.”
Although raised Catholics, both converted as Born Again Christians and were devoted to the church. They attended Calvary Chapel in Riverside and Moreno Valley for over 40 years and would sometimes host Bible Study at their home. They went to church at least two to three times a week and donated thousands of dollars over the years.
Ernestine was recently captured by the Riverside Press-Enterprise, on February 28, 2020, as she lit the candles on the Golden Lampstand during a tour of a replica of the Tabernacle of Moses at the Immanuel Lutheran Church.
Refused to change her hairstyle
Rather than drink alcohol, Ernestine preferred Tab sodas, lots of them. And she refused to change her shoulder-length hairstyle, even though her daughter had access to the top hair and fashion designers in the world.
Although Lisa has worked in the mortgage industry for the last 20 years, she once was under contract as a model and did some acting. Although her dad was against it, she credits her mom’s genes and Ernestine’s side of the family. “After all,” Lisa laughed, “Freddie Fender does have a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.”
A beautiful soul, who saw with her heart, Ernestine was a voice of reason in a dark world, her daughter said. “Her spirit is striving and soaring now that she is in the hands of the Lord and loved ones who have passed before her.”
Predeceased by her brother Daniel Rubio, her sisters Margaret and Dolly, and her husband Rudy, Ernestine is survived by her brother Armand Rubio and sister Yolanda Reed [Phillip]; daughter Lisa Oseguera and granddaughter Krista Marie; son Rudy Oseguera [Brenda], and son Richard Oseguera. Also, numerous nephews, nieces, cousins, etc.
A graveside service will be held on Thursday, April 8th, 2021 at 10:15 AM at the Riverside National Cemetery, 22495 Van Buren Boulevard, March Air Reserve Base, CA 92518-2740.